I’m just finally starting to settle down after nearly two weeks of straight driving. I first went up to DC to visit my uncle and walk around downtown. I’m really looking forward to moving out there. It really looks like a great city, and now the only hitch is finding a job (but more on that later).

So, the trip cross country… Paul and I started Friday morning and got into LA late Sunday evening. I then drove up to the Bay Area on Monday. Let me give you a state by state breakdown.

North Carolina - Mark Driving

This was the first drive (X-country) where Paul and I were both awake driving through the Smoky Mountains. It was really beautiful, and made me regret a little that I hadn’t visited it more while at Duke. I can’t imagine what it must be like during the fall too!

Tennessee - Paul Driving

Paul determined (and I concurred) that Tennessee (especially Knoxville) can “kiss the fattest part of our ass.” For the second straight time, Paul got stuck driving in traffic on 40 going through Knoxville (and it wasn’t like it was during rush hour or anything either). TN is just all around not a pleasant place to be.

Arkansa - Mark Driving

Right before leaving TN, we stopped to get gas and swap driving. We when into the convenient store, which had a TV with the weather on. A huge storm front and tornado warning was covering Arkansa. “Lovely” we thought. After about 45 minutes driving down 40 and seeing this massive, ugly-looking storm front loom to the north, it then basically swallowed us up for the rest of AK. I have never seen so much rain and lightning (thankfully no tornados). We were crawling long the interstate at 30mph, wishing that our windshield wipers had a faster setting. Lighting struck the ground about a quarter of a mile in front of us, which was quite amazing.

That was basically the adrenaline rush of the trip.

Oklahoma - Paul Driving

After we got through most of the storm, we stopped in OK to sleep (I don’t remember the town). It was night… not much to see anyway.

Texas - Mark Driving

B-O-R-I-N-G should be TX’s motto. Not much to say here. The interstate was really bad, with horizontal lines (which caused a solid thump) every 2 seconds. Moving on…

New Mexico - Both Driving

The western part of New Mexico is quite breath taking. We happened to be driving through that part during the sunset as well, which made it even better. But other than a few geological features, there’s not much there but desert.

Arizona - Both Driving

We decided earlier in the day to stay at the Grand Canyon for the night, then wake up early on Sunday and see the Canyon for a half day, and then continue on to LA. Most of AZ was pitch black. I think it was slightly overcast because you couldn’t see any stars or the moon, and looking out from the highway, it was pitch black. There was no ambient light from anywhere. It was actually really cool.

We turned off 40 to head up to the Grand Canyon, and it was even more impressive here, because we were the only cars on the road. It was at this point that Paul decided to scare the shit out of me. With the cryptic remark, “This is pretty straight,” he cuts out the lights to the car for a second and then turns them back on. However during that one second, it got totally black. No light from anywhere. It was like you were in a cave. And needless to say since I wasn’t warned, I was fucking scary as hell. Paul got a kick out of it though =)

The Grand Canyon - Both Driving

We picked a GREAT day to visit the Canyon. It was clear, not too hot, and we missed the afternoon crowds by going really early. I’ll post some pictures later. We hiked down into the Canyon about a mile and then back up, which was a lot of fun. Hiking down to the river, camping, and hiking back out is definitely on my list of to do.

California - Both Driving

The CA desert is actually really interesting. Granted there’s not much there, but its still a wonder. You think about all the diverse places CA has (LA, Bay Area, Tahoe, etc.) and you can add a desert to that list. (Though thank god we had air conditioning =)

We got stuck in traffic entering LA (people on the 15 are stupid), but we ended up getting to Paul’s house without too much trouble (after Paul decided to invent a short cut that worked very well =)

Since the trip, I’ve just been unwinding and unpacking. I went to see the new Matrix, but I’m going to hold off commenting on it till I’ve seen it again (but WOW).

Now on to seeking employment and enjoying the last school-made summer